The Buckeyes are lapping the Big Ten on the recruiting trail.
Athlon Sports has averaged out the four major recruiting services — 247Sports, Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN — and created the Big Ten consensus team recruiting rankings for 2015. Here is what we learned:
Lapping the field
The Buckeyes are the clear-cut biggest dog on the block in the Big Ten when it comes to recruiting. SB Nation worked the math and proved that, relative to the rest of the league, Ohio State is the No. 1 recruiting power in the nation. In Urban Meyer’s three full cycles at OSU, the Buckeyes have signed 48 of the 156 four-stars who have signed in the B1G and three of the eight five-stars.
Enter new blood
Part of why Big Ten fans should be excited about the future of the league is the addition of James Franklin and Jim Harbaugh. Franklin’s impact has been felt right away, landing 13 four-star recruits and scoring the No. 2 class in the league this year without even entering the cycle with a full complement of scholarships. Harbaugh didn’t get off to a hot start with this class, finishing sixth in the league with a 40.3 national average. But fans in Ann Arbor should expect Harbaugh to push Ohio State and Penn State for Big Ten recruiting supremacy starting in 2016.
Dantonio starting to capitalize
Before the 2015 class, Michigan State had signed one top-25 recruiting class in the last seven years, ranking 23rd in 2010. After winning the B1G and Rose Bowl titles in 2013, Mark Dantonio has finally capitalized by inking the best class of his tenure in East Lansing. The ’15 haul ranked third in the B1G with a 22.8 national average and as high as 18th by Scout. This is the return on investment Sparty fans have been looking for since beating Stanford in Pasadena two years ago.
Listen to the Cover 2 Podcast Recruiting Special feat. Barton Simmons:
Kirk Ferentz has a plan… maybe?
The Hawkeyes are trending in the wrong direction on the recruiting trail in a big way. From 2010-12, Iowa landed three consecutive top-40 classes, including a high-water mark of 28th in 2011. However, in the three years since, the Hawkeyes haven’t been ranked better than 53rd nationally by 247Sports. Iowa was 12th in the Big Ten in recruiting this year.
Bottom half struggles
Iowa isn't the only Big Ten team struggling to lure talent to its campus. The SEC had 12 of its 14 teams ranked in the top 25 nationally. The Pac-12 had six in the top 25 and all but three ranked in the top 50 nationally this year. But the Big Ten had six teams rank outside of the top 50 in national recruiting rankings. This trend should be cause for concern for the Midwestern league.
The Illini have had a bizarre trend in recruiting over the last seven cycles. According to 247Sports, Illinois has alternated good and bad classes over the last seven years. This team was ranked 30th in 2009, 38th in '11, 49th in '13 and as high as 34th this year. In the even-numbered years, Illinois signed classes ranked 63rd (2010), 64th (2012) and 70th (2014). Maybe this better-than-expected haul helps Illinois return to relevance.